When I moved to Puerto Rico in 1994, I had no idea that I would live through a near-drowning, even though the island, surrounded by oceans and seas, scared me. I have always had a fear of drowning in deep water. A year and a half after arriving, on September 9, 1995, I was settled in my own home and busy working full-time. I was happy and having great fun with my local companions who had become family to me. One night after work, I gave a ride to some visitors of my friends, whom were visiting the island. I drove them up the west coast where I lived and worked. After some cajoling I was glad to take the drive up along the coast of beautiful Puerto Rico as I drove my local friend and his visitors up to their cottage where they were staying for a week.
It was evening by the time we arrived. I was going to stay the night and then drive home in the morning after shopping and going to the beach. Later that night, Maury and I went for a walk together, down to the beach. He was the handsome brother of the friend who had asked for the ride. We were getting along great. I felt invigorated and blessed, enjoying one of the most enchanting beaches in the world. This is the surfing capital of Puerto Rico and known world-wide by surfers who ride the huge waves along the pristine shoreline. The waves were gigantic and loud that particular night because of the post-hurricane weather, with another hurricane on the way.
We were playing by the shore with the beauty of the night sky off-setting the romantic ocean at our finger-tips; we were lulled into the ocean. While playing in the water, the ocean terrifyingly grabbed us in one wave! We were swept out to sea! Panicking, we struggled together to swim back to shore, but the waves were too big and powerful, plus the rip-tide had a deadly hold on us and we could not swim against it. Personally, I knew nothing of rip-tides or what to do if ever caught in one which is to swim parallel to the shore until out of the rip tide current. I did know I was going to drown that night and would never make it back to the beach. Due to the violent blasting of the waves, Maury and I were forcibly separated three times. He was not able to stay or swim me into the shore. I found myself alone in the middle of the vast, immense ocean, fighting for my life. I was able to prolong survival by timing the waves crashing on my head. I think I was out there for about thirty minutes, although it felt like forever. As the waves washed me under, over and over, I was able to tell when to take a breath, to sustain me underwater, until I swam up to the surface, to take another breath. This went on until I was too exhausted to move any body part.
Eventually the moment arrived when I became aware of exactly which wave would pummel me underwater to my death. As I inhaled my last breath, I felt an all-encompassing peace releasing all fears. The moment had come to get right with God. I was acutely conscious of the knowledge I would not make it up to the surface again. I was having my last view of the beach, the stars and the expansive, blue, dark ocean. As I took the breath that would sustain me for the rest of my life, I timed the wave falling on me. The ocean stilled and became very quiet. Stars began to fall on the horizon and dropped into the sea. When I looked up at the wave, it was suspended above me dripping droplets of water from its crest.
The next moment, I traveled to space. My spirit was taken in an instant to outer space and exploded into pure consciousness! I was acutely aware in my mind that I was traveling and had become an astral being. I was taken into the sky and into space. I was above the beach and to the right of the almost full moon. I was completely conscious of being alive without a body! As I began to comprehend where I found myself, my mental dialogue was the same as when I was in the physical realm. I noticed my mind was still thinking, hearing, and seeing. I tried to figure out where I had been taken. My spirit eyes felt the same as seeing through my body’s eyes. My mind told me I was in a holy place. I was a visitor in a house of God.
The next moments were timeless, as I was gently informed about how I lived my life on earth. Completely non-judgmental, yet clear and precise was the voice inside my head. I learned why I was dying and how it would affect my loved ones. More information kept flooding my consciousness as I listened, learned, and understood profound life conditions of the past, present and future. I became my own proof of individual divinity, blessed with immortal life, by the infinite mercy of God’s unconditional love. The revelations seemed to go on until I noticed a bubble of light, so to speak, to the right of where I was floating. Inviting and comforting, all my attention was eventually diverted to it. I knew without a doubt it was the entrance to heaven. I was happy to be going there, especially if what I was feeling is the norm. I forced myself to float towards it. When close, all of a sudden in an excruciating moment, I was rudely blasted back into my body!
The last wave had slammed me down hard as I began the descent into the dark, watery abyss to my drowning death. Then I felt a hand! Miraculously I was being rescued out of the last wave at the exact moment I was going to drown. Upon realizing I was being pulled to safety, I died and do not remember being pulled out of the water and laid on the beach. Upon resuscitation when I struggled to wake up, I was shocked to find out I was still alive and much to my chagrin, still in my body!
The only thing I could think about was my near-death experience and how much I wanted to go back to where I had just visited. Plus it made no sense I was on earth. The rest of the night and into the next morning became an extended fight to live. By the time the light of the new day dawned, I had actually lived through the first near-drowning, to almost die again from secondary drowning. Upon admittance to a hospital, I spent a long week in the Intensive Care Unit. Upon being discharged I went home a different person than whom I had been before that fateful night up the western Puerto Rican coast.